In a new study, researchers found when the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is too low in the body, the risk of bleeding stroke increases in women.
The research was conducted by a team from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
LDL cholesterol is called “bad” cholesterol because it can cause fatty build-up in the arteries.
Previous research has shown that lowering LDL cholesterol could help reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
However, it is unknown if very low levels of LDL cholesterol could be harmful to people’s health.
In the current study, the team examined 27,937 women age 45 and older in the Women’s Health Study.
These women had total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is known as good cholesterol, and triglycerides measured.
The team also reviewed medical records to see how many women had a bleeding stroke.
Bleeding strokes are hemorrhagic strokes. They are much less common than ischemic strokes. They are also harder to be treated and therefore more likely to be deadly.
The researchers found that women who have levels of LDL cholesterol 70 mg/dL or lower may be more than twice as likely to have a bleeding stroke compared with women who have LDL cholesterol levels between 100 to 130 mg/dL.
They also found that women with the lowest triglyceride levels had a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke compared to women with the highest triglyceride levels.
No difference in risks was found for total cholesterol or HDL cholesterol.
The team suggests that treatments for high cholesterol and triglyceride levels are widely used to prevent heart disease.
But in women, very low levels may also carry health risks.
Women with very low LDL cholesterol or low triglycerides need to be monitored by their doctors.
These women also need to control other stroke risk factors, such as high blood pressure and smoking.
Future work needs to examine whether menopause may influence the link between cholesterol and triglyceride levels and bleeding stroke.
The lead author of the study is Pamela Rist, ScD from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
The study is published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Copyright © 2019 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.